Carriero is a Southampton, N.Y.-based advisor, who was right in the middle of Hurricane Sandy when the storm hit the East Coast. He took several steps to help clients prepare for and get through the storm.
REP.: Are your clients still struggling with/dealing with the storm? How have you advised them during this time?
Rocco Carriero: For 90 percent of our clients, life is back to somewhat normal, while about 10 percent of them have been removed from their home and actually took in water damage. For those people, their lives are still being disrupted; they’re living with family, and they have to completely gut their house. They’re expected to be out of their house for as little as three months and up to nine months.
We’re telling those people to continue to maintain a healthy cash reserve for different expenses that may not be covered by their insurance. For those people that had home equity lines of credit associated with their home, I did tell them to draw on their line and have that cash available in the event that they were to need it to complete any of the work in the event that banks would decide to shut down their line based upon the damage to their home.
REP.: What was it like serving clients while you yourself were going through a natural disaster?
RC: I personally had some damage, but I was clearly more focused on the people who had serious problems. While being their financial advisor, we also try to step into a leadership role in their life. We try to help them to stay calm and carry on. If we get worried and get upset about things, that certainly doesn’t help them at all.
REP.: What do you think is the biggest mistake most advisors make in preparing clients for natural disasters and getting through them?
RC: I think the biggest mistake that advisors make is they don’t view themselves as being a complete resource for the client. They view themselves as being there to help clients just with their financial business, but not for all the other things that may affect them in their lives, which, in the end, may tie in a financial aspect of their life. Everybody talks about relationship, but the relationship is not only handling someone’s financial business. The relationship is being there for them in the different things that may come up in their life.